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Contemporary and Classical Concerts to Highlight Greek Culture Year
    2007-11-15 10:53:27     CRIENGLISH.com

Michael Cambanis(L1), Ambassador of Greece in China, Tan Lihua(L2), music director of Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Greek pianist Dimitris Sgouros(R2) and Greek Composer Giorgos Koumentakis(R1) Wednesday attended a press briefing on two forthcoming Greek concerts to be held on November 16 and 17, 2007. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

As part of the "Cultural Year of Greece in China", two grand concerts featuring Greek classical and contemporary music will delight Beijing audience this weekend.

Under the baton of Tan Lihua, a Greek classical music concert will be performed by the Beijing Symphony Orchestra at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music on November 16. The works to be performed are by some of Greece's most pre-eminent composers, including "Phoenix Music" by Yani Christou, "36 Greek Dances" by Nikos Skalkotas and "Journey into Night" by Giorgos Koumentakis.

Acclaimed Greek pianist Dimitris Sgouros, who began his career as an 8-year-old prodigy, will also star in the classical concert. At a press briefing for the event, he said he was very exited to give a performance in China.

"During my tour to Australia, playing at the Sydney Opera House, in 1989, the Chinese Minister of Culture came to my concert. A few days later he sent me a letter inviting me to visit and perform in China. Today, my long-cherished dream has come true---to find myself in your country not merely as a tourist, but having the opportunity to appear in front of the Beijing public as a pianist. I'm rather excited to be here."

On November 17, one of Greece's most famous orchestras, the Camerata Friends of Music Orchestra, will give a concert dedicated to contemporary Greek music. They will perform pieces by some of today's leading Greek composers, including Christo Hatzis, Giorgos Kouroupos and Dimitris Terzakis. Two acclaimed soloists will collaborate with the orchestra, including soprano Maria Mitsopoulou and violinist Sergiu Nastasa.

Composer Giorgos Koumentakis, the musical director and creator of the 2004 Athens Olympics ceremonies, explained that audiences to the two concerts will be able to hear a new and unique musical form which fuses native Greek music and multi-national elements.

"I was very lucky to choose the music for the opening and closing ceremonies. Greece enjoys a favorable geographic location, as it lies at the crossroads of three continents---Europe, Asia and Africa. It has been the melting pot for the fusion of many great and distinctive cultures. Therefore, a new music culture was born, which incorporated diversified music genres from throughout the world. We hope this kind of blending will be stimulating and exciting to the audience."

Greece is also known as Hellas, a word used by the Greeks in classical times. The "Cultural Year of Greece in China", will present both ancient Hellenic and modern Greek culture to the Chinese populace until September next year.

The program officially began on October 19 with a concert featuring Greek composer Stamatis Spanoudakis' new work "Alexander: Paths You Haven't Traveled" at the Beijing Poly Theatre. Performed by the great Greek mezzo-soprano Agnes Baltsa, the concert was organized to commemorate the legendary operatic soprano Maria Callas.

To follow up this stupendous start, a full year of artistic and cultural treats will be held mainly in Beijing, and occasionally in Shanghai, until September next year. The year will include theatrical and dance performances, cinematic tributes, archaeological and modern art exhibitions, opera and folk concerts, modern and popular music shows, conferences, book exhibitions and seminars.

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